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Controversial judge in Jones-Reyes has history of screwing up

Josh Hedges / UFC / Getty

One of the biggest upsets in UFC history almost happened at UFC 247, yet the controversial officiating became the main story coming out of Saturday's event.

After Jon Jones defeated Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision to retain the light heavyweight title, judge Joe Solis' scorecard - 49-46 for Jones - came under scrutiny. UFC commentator Joe Rogan said Solis should never judge a fight again.

Solis created controversy throughout the card. Earlier in the night, he made a brutal call in the Andre Ewell-Jonathan Martinez bout. He scored it 30-27 for Ewell, who took a split decision. Only Solis gave Ewell all three rounds. Twelve of the 13 media members on scored the fight for Martinez.

Additionally, Solis scored the first round of the Trevin Giles-James Krause matchup for Giles. Krause spent the majority of the round on Giles' back, hunting for submissions. The two other judges gave it to Krause.

Solis' history

Solis has been a licensed MMA referee in Texas for over a decade, according to a 2014 story on He's reportedly trained in various fighting styles since 1977 and has black belts in five different martial arts.

Yet Saturday wasn't the first time Solis has turned in questionable scorecards at a UFC event. He's only officiated 10 UFC bouts, and in eight of them, his scorecard was at least somewhat controversial, including the fights listed below.

June 2014: UFC Fight Night 44

In his first UFC assignment, Solis gave Andy Enz all three rounds over Marcelo Guimaraes. The two other judges scored the fight 29-28 for Guimaraes to give him a split-decision victory. All 11 media members on scored the fight for Guimaraes.

In the Joe Ellenberger-James Moontasri fight, Solis scored the bout for Ellenberger. None of the 11 media members had it for Ellenberger, although three scored the fight a draw.

Solis was also one of two judges who gave Clint Hester a win over Antonio Braga Neto. Nine of the 11 media members scored the fight for Neto.

February 2017: UFC Fight Night 104

Solis only judged one other UFC fight before February 2017, but, during UFC Fight Night 104, he picked up where he left off in 2014.

He was one of two judges to score the light heavyweight headliner between Ovince Saint Preux and Volkan Oezdemir for the latter. Oezdemir won by split decision, but 14 of the 16 media members had it for Saint Preux.

Solis was the only judge to give Ricardo Ramos all three rounds in a win over Michinori Tanaka. The other judges had it 29-28 for Ramos. While seven media members gave Ramos two rounds, six had it as a draw and two thought Tanaka won.

Since then, Solis hadn't been a judge at a UFC event until Saturday's pay-per-view event in Houston.

What can be done?

After UFC 247, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) sent a statement to theScore regarding the officiating in the Jones-Reyes fight.

"In selecting ringside officials, TDLR takes into consideration recommendations made by UFC," spokesperson Tela Mange wrote. "As with all events, TDLR works closely with UFC and other promoters to ensure the quality and experience of referees and judges to protect the health and safety of the fighters."

UFC president Dana White suggested in the postfight press conference that the promotion could work with athletic commissions and officials to fix the officiating in the sport.

"The powers that be in the commission have to realize that mistakes were made," White said. "These things are gonna happen. Nothing's perfect. No commission is perfect, no state is perfect. It's something we have to work on."

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